Malaysian Education Ministry probing racial bias in History textbook

Malaysian Education Ministry probing racial bias in History textbook

PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry is looking into allegations of racial bias in the Year Five History textbook.

Deputy Education Minister P. Kamalanathan said the factual errors pointed out in a letter published in The Star warranted an investigation.

"I will request the relevant departments to investigate," he said, adding that he found the letter written by Dr Ranjit Singh Malhi to be "thought-provoking".

"I would like to see if we can work together with historians outside the ministry when constructing the substance of history textbooks in the future," said Kamalanathan when commenting on a letter, "Glaring bias in history textbook" here yesterday.

The letter claimed that there were at least five factual errors in the current Year Five History textbook, first published in 2014.

The letter alleged that there was a clear bias that glorified one particular ethnic group and religion while greatly downplaying the roles and contributions by other ethnic groups and religions in Malaysia's history.

The writer said that History textbooks used in the 1970s and 1980s had separate chapters on the impact of Indian culture (both Hindu and Buddhist aspects) in Malaysia's heritage but the current textbook had summarised it into just one sentence.

The letter also claimed that the Chinese community's contributions to tin mining development in Malaysia had been downplayed with only the conflict between the Ghee Hin and Hai San miners and its resulting economic losses being highlighted.

"Malaysia's history should be written on the premise that our nation today is the result of numerous sacrifices and contributions by the various ethnic groups, and not just one ethnic group," wrote Dr Ranjit.

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